June 14, 2008 – Speaking of Fathers – And Fathers

First of all I owe an apology to those of you who are regular readers of the blog (all 2 or 3 of you, ha ha).    I encountered some problems this past week with the server and some folks had difficulty accessing the blog.  I was told that they are in the process of switching all of the blogs they host over to a different format and that there may be some glitches as this takes place.  Hopefully the problem will be corrected shortly.  What I found is that if the blog does not come up the first time, that you can hit the “refresh” button on your browser a time or two and eventually it does come up.  Fortunately none of the other pages on the website were affected.  I have heard some nightmare stories in the past about how unreliable some of the servers are, so we are fortunate that this the only glitch we have run into so far.

Of a far more major concern right now is the flooding situation along many of our rivers.  Some folks I have spoken to are fearing a repeat of the 1993 flood.  Let us pray that this is not the case and that the our weather pattern improves.  We are facing enough challenges at the moment with our economy, etc. and another devastating flood would be disasterous.

OK, let’s move on to something more positive – Happy Father’s Day to all of our fathers, grandfathers, godfathers, and all other father figures this weekend.  Over Mother’s Day I researched the origin of how that day came about, and I did the same for Father’s Day.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a woman named Sonora Dodd of Spokane, WA was listening to a sermon in 1909 about Mother’s Day, and thought that her father, William Smart, deserved a special day in his honor.  Mr. Smart was a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise six children on his own.  The mayor of Spokane proclaimed the date of June 19, 1910 as a day to honor Mr. Smart and all fathers.  A day in June was chosen because this was the month of Mr. Smart’s birthday.  President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed the first nationwide observance of Father’s Day in 1966, and in 1972 Richard Nixon signed a permanent law declaring the 3rd Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

As with all others, the role of many fathers has changed over the years.  32% of fathers work in the evening or at night and then take care of the pre-school children while the mother works, and there are over 2 million single fathers in the U.S.  So thank you to all of or fathers for the important role(s) that they fill in our lives.

Finally, I wanted to speak about our other “fathers”, our clergy.  If you read The Messenger this past week you saw that Bishop Braxton has made his official pastoral assignments for the coming year.  Once again, our cluster was spared of losing any clergy.  We have been very, very fortunate that since our cluster was formed in 2003, that our clergy structure has remained in tact.  We have a resident pastor, Ellis Grove retains a deacon as Parish Life Coordinator, Evansville and Walsh retain a pastor, and Sparta retains a religious order priest as administrator.  It would be naive to think that this structure will hold in place for many more years.  We were projected to lose a priest out of the cluster by this time, so again, we have been very fortunate to this point.

Our parish, especially, has been blessed with great pastoral leadership for many, many years.  Fr. Gene is just our 6th pastor since 1892.  Let’s see how sharp my church history is here: Fr. Eckert served from 1892-1925 (killed in car accident), Fr. Lehmen served from 1926-1963 (died in 1963), Msgr. McCormick served from 1963-1970, Fr. Kribs served from 1970-1986, Msgr. Dennis served from 1986-2004, and of course Fr. Gene from 2004-present.  So from 1892-2004, we had 5 pastors who served an average of over 22years, which means Fr. Gene has 18years to go (ha, ha) .  Seriously, we have been greatly blessed with fine, dedicated men who have served our parish well for so many years.

Cardinals fans, hang in there – it can’t get worse than the 20-2 beating last night, can it?

Peace.

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